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Product MVP development: explanation and importance for the app development

MVP product development is a common approach to software development. MVP, or minimum viable product, is a product that contains only the core features of your final software. The next steps you take after you build MVP app are iterative: you gain feedback from your target audience, add missing features, improve already existing ones, and repeat until your app is done. All in all, this approach is suitable for almost any type of product development. It is beneficial to invest some funds into an early functional model to gain helpful feedback from potential users. However, it is especially helpful when it comes to startup application development. Startups are often based only on an idea. While they are often unique, testing out whether they are actually viable and marketable is often possible only with costly market research. MVP product development will help you save the funds and gain helpful data at the same time.

mvp product development
Table of contens

What are the MVP purposes?

1. Check if your idea is compelling

The first and one of the most important purposes of an MVP is to find out whether it will attract any customers. If your idea is not compelling, not unique enough, or too niche, your MVP will probably not attract any users.

On the other hand, if your MVP will gain some feedback from the community, you will know who to market the full product to. The early adopters of your MVP app might stay with you throughout the development process and remain your biggest advocates.

2. Test the marketability

MVP app development is the first step to making your ethereal idea into a successful business with material benefits. To achieve that, you need to employ some sort of monetization model that will encourage active users to spend money on your application.

If you’re not sure which monetization type suits your project more, this stage is the best time to try out different options and determine which one works best. You’ll be able to see how many funds you’d need to spend to market your app to more customers, and determine whether the app is profitable as a whole.

3. Lower the overall development time

One of the common features of MVP product development is its efficiency, both in terms of resources spent and time allocated for its initial build. If you quickly build MVP app and iteratively improve it, it will take much less time than if you create each feature of the full product from scratch.

Development time and overall expenses are often interconnected. With the help of an MVP you can lower the product development time, which will potentially save a lot of funds. Also, the faster you get the full product on the market, the more time it will make money for you. Plus, this way you might outpace your competitors that might have similar ideas.

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4. Choose the right features

If you collect enough information from your MVP launch and analyze it properly, it will help you make the product better. For example, you might see which core features are used by your target audience the most, and which are overlooked.

Using this information, you can choose to shift the focus of your marketing campaign to target the overlooked features, or you can remove the unnecessary features and focus on the ones that are used the most. No matter what you choose, your project will win from it, as will your users.

5. Receive the early feedback

One of the main reasons to build MVP app is to gain early feedback on it from your target audience. If you want your project to be successful, you need to stay client-oriented. This means that you need to listen to your users and react to their feedback.

Early feedback on your MVP might not reflect the attitude of the users towards the full application. However, it is the first step to mutual understanding and consistent dialog between you and your audience. So, analyze and respond to feedback throughout the development process to make your app the best fit for your customers.

Advantages an MVP provides

1. It is cost-efficient

mvp product development

One can’t say that MVP development is cheap but developing a fully functioning product costs a lot more. Besides, working on an MVP instead of developing the whole application from scratch allows for better, more organized resource management. You build and improve upon an existing structure instead of designing everything at once.

Furthermore, as we’ve mentioned, one of the main goals of the MVP product development is time-saving. More development time usually means that more resources are spent, so MVP saves resources this way as well.

2. Allows you enter the market quickly

If you don’t test the waters with an MVP, you won’t know whether there is a real target audience for your app. MVP allows you to gain the attention of the potential users of your app as if they are interested in a minimum viable product – they will definitely want to check out the full thing.

Furthermore, MVPs often attract people that actively check the market for any new technology. These early adopters might help you a lot with their feedback, as they’ve probably tried out every similar product on the market. Their info will help you determine your product identity and gain an edge over your competition.

3. Ensures you’re not spending funds blindfolded

When you build MVP app, you start the development with the most important core features. It is most likely that they will stay almost the same up till the end of the development. Other features you add later might change drastically or even be discarded.

If you don’t use the MVP approach in your project, you might spend a lot of resources on features that will be discarded in the end. Iterative progress of the MVP product development will help you to better allocate the funds and not be in the dark about the elements of your app.

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4. You gain feedback from real users

If a person finds your MVP interesting or if it solves their particular problem – they are your future potential customer. These are the people you want to hear the feedback from, as they may sooner or later be paying you for your solution.

Some development companies often conduct research on a focus group. While the info they receive might be helpful, it is limited. The info you gain from the MVP product development approach is much more genuine, detailed, and helpful.

5. Makes your project safer for investors

Attracting investors to your startup project is a challenging task, even if you have the most innovative and financially sound idea ever. Investors want some safety for their money, but there are risks in every project. However, MVP success can mitigate that risk.

If you let your potential investors know that the early-stage version of your product has been successful, the chance of you getting some help from them will increase. More funds from investors mean that you can make your app even better, thus making a better case for more investors 😉

MVP types you can use

1. Idea visualization

product mvp development

The first and the most simple MVP type you can use is the idea visualization. For this type of MVP development in most cases you don’t even need coding – that’s why it is also often called a no-product MVP. It simply demonstrates how your final product will function through text, images, or videos.

There are multiple ways you can present such a visual MVP. From landing pages to demo videos, you can use anything you like. The important thing here is not the format, but how well it demonstrates the capabilities of your product, and whether it is easily accessible by the target audience. This is the most cost-efficient MVP, but it is also the most basic and the least appealing type.

2. Wizard of Oz

If you have an idea about how the core functions of your app should work but you don’t have the resources to automate them, you can try the Wizard of Oz MVP approach. In this type of the MVP, you create an illusion of a functioning product but the main functions are performed manually.

The fact that the actions are not automated is hidden from users, hence the name of the MVP – you operate from the shadows, like the Wizard of Oz. While you don’t have a fully functioning product, with this MVP you deliver a full experience to the users, which is why you can get valuable feedback from them.

3. Concierge

This type of MVP product development is similar to the previous one. Certain features, that in the final product will be performed automatically, are conducted manually. However, in this case, the user is fully aware of the manipulation.

This type of MVP works especially well if you’re trying to connect with your users. You will guide the customers from start to finish of their experience, and, as they know there is the person behind it, they may share the upsides and the downsides they experience.

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4. Piecemeal MVP

Another way you can emulate the features you’re not ready to develop from scratch yet is by using already existing technologies. For example, if you don’t want to spend time setting up a shopping platform, you can use a third-party solution, like Shopify.

Piecemeal MVP allows you to save a lot of money on app development, while still getting a working solution that can be tested in the wild. You can use third party solutions for a wide variety of features, so you can focus on the unique ones that are left.

5. MLP

Sometimes it is not enough to present the users with the core features of your app, with everything else stripped off. If you plan for your app not just to be a simple solution, but a unique experience, you need to create a well-thought-out UI/UX design.

That’s exactly what MLP is for. A minimum lovable product is a decision that not only solves users problems but also creates an emotional connection with them. It is usually achieved with the careful choice of design elements and defined user flow.

Successful MVP examples

1. Dropbox: this is one of the best examples of the successful idea visualization MVP. In the beginning, Dropbox was described by its founders in a demo video, which went viral and has lead to the creation of one of the biggest cloud services in the world.

2. Spotify: Spotify went through several stages of MVP development. First, it was just an idea described on the landing page of the website. Then they created an MLP – the app provided the experience you’ve never seen before.

mvp product development

3. Airbnb: before the app became well-known around the world, the job of finding and booking the places for people to stay was on humans. It was a perfect example of the concierge MVP, and only the success of the initial product has made the process automation possible.

4. Zappos: this company is often mentioned as an example of a successful MVP, and it’s no wonder – it was one of the first to use the Wizard of Oz MVP strategy. No one had even suspected that the orders in this shop were not handled automatically until the company couldn’t handle the volumes of orders on its own.

5. Facebook: as a lot of people know, Facebook has grown into an international social media giant from the Harward-exclusive social network. You might not know but the very first version of Facebook was simply a mock-up of a profile page with a messaging option.

6. Uber: the MVP of Uber was available only on iPhones and focused on two main features – establishing a connection between a driver and a passenger, and making the cashless payment possible. After the success of the concept in San-Francisco, the company was able to expand to other cities and other platforms.

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In conclusion

Depending on the complexity of your project and the variety of features you plan for your app, the MVP development stage can be skipped entirely in some cases. In most cases, this will not make your solution better — you will only miss out on the MVP benefits we’ve mentioned above.

If you want to gain valuable feedback and get to know your target audience before fully developing your product, an MVP approach is just for you. Make sure to choose the right MVP type for your project and focus on what makes your idea unique.

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